Four Small Towns in Colorado

Trip Start Jun 27, 2008
Trip End Sep 2008

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

     After Mesa Verde, we needed some city life.  Really more like a four small towns break.  We  like small towns but they have to have meet certain criteria--stuff to do (museums, hikes), good food, and cuteness.  We are not above liking tourist traps.  We had really been in the woods for a month so it was time.  Our first was Telluride, Colo.  It is a mining town turned ski town.  It's only a couple of thousand permanent residents but thousands of tourists go there especially in the winter.  Summer is really more off season and we got a really cute condo for less than $100. a night.  There was an excellent bakery one block away and a tapas restaurant.  In addition, we managed our least comfortable hike.  It was eight miles from town to above a waterfall.  It started out pretty nice and we had sun for our picnic but shortly after it started to rain a little and then a lot.  Fortunately, all that stuff I bought in preparation for this trip included a really swell rain jacket that got its first serious use.  It does its job.  It has a hood that keeps your glasses from getting wet.  I was even able to talk H into buying one too so even though we were walking three of the six hours in the rain, we were dry and we looked the part of serious hikers.  And, that, of course is important. : |  I think I will devote a whole blog to stuff that I had bought or got that was really useful and the stuff that was not.
     I wanted to stay another night but our condo was already rented so we moved on to a town called Ouray, Colo.  Pronounced Your-ray.  It was also a mining town turned tourist town.  It's claim to fame is a huge hot springs pool.  They have to add cold water to it or it is too hot.  They had three pools connected by stairs so you could move from one to the other.  One pool is 94 degrees, 104 degrees, and 125 degrees.  Feels really good after a hike.  It had a slide.  No older people were lining up to go down the slide but, of course, I did.  Which suddenly encouraged others to join in even H.  Adults just need a little encouragement to have fun.  This town also had a really good small museum about mining, health care in the early 1900, food preparation, and other mundane topics that I find interesting.
     The third little town was Crested Butte.  It was also a mining town turned ski town.  It has an edgier  reputation than Telluride.  They do extreme sports there.  Our extreme event was hiking up a 12,000 foot mountain.  That's a first for us.  The first day we hiked the 4.3 miles up to the tundra and realized we didn't have enough water or any food to take on the last mile.  Doesn't sound like much but it is more or less straight up, half way on rocks instead of a path and, as I said, at 12,000 feet.  We are now used to 7000 and 8000 feet of elevation.  So the next day, we took the ski lift to our stopping point of the day before and climbed to the top.  At 12,000 we were panting the whole way up.  It's why, it was only one mile but took an hour to climb.  I hope the pictures do it justice.  It was a view!
     Today, after the hike, we drove to Glenwood Springs.  This town also has hikes and a hot springs.  It's a place we had been to before.  When Jess was 13 we came here.  That time we camped along the Colo. river with a view across the river to the train that hugged the mountain side and did a hike to Hanging Lake.  We did a hotel  this time but we did the same hike because it was memorable from 14 years ago.  It's short 2.4 miles round trip, but, again it is up.  After climbing 1.2 mile up there is this lake with a falls gently falling into it.  The lake is the most beautiful greens and blues.  It's indescribable.  We hiked up a little father and could go behind the waterfall that fed the lake.  A most memorable hike.  Back down we took the bike path  along the Colo. river.  What a nice path.  Even though it follows I-70, it is protected from the highway, with views to the canyon and the river all the way.  The prize for the effort in the morning was the Glenwood springs pool.  We didn't do the pool 14 years ago with Jessica.  It's bigger than a football field and has a definite mineral smell like sulfur.  Lots of salt too because you can float well.  We're feeling very rejuvenated.
     A person could do a whole month in Colorado there are so many places that are so very different.  Mesa Verde so different from the cooler mountains father north.  Deep canyons and lots of small cute towns with a variety of activities.  Coloradoans are the most fit I have heard.  You can see why when outdoor things are so evident everywhere.
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robertjmiller on

Front Range Hiking
Thanks for the info. I hope to make it to western Colorado soon.

If you are near Estes Park or Fort Collins then check out some cool hikes I have documented for Rocky Mountain National Park: and Lory State Park:

If you hike with kids or pets then check out child carrier backpacks: and/or collapsible dog water bowls:

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